In South Korea – Coffee Entertainment R-Us!

Yesterday a new American reality show featuring baristas made the news. Today, from an article on Balita online, we find out that coffee programming is old news in S. Korea. As another Asian country finds its coffee demand skyrocketing, when tea used to rule, it appears it’s not only the taste, but the entertainment, that draws Koreans to the bean instead of the leaves. A look at the TV programming lineup starring coffee tells it all.

It started in 2007 with a “widely popular” series called "The 1st Shop of Coffee Prince". Because much of the drama took place in a coffee shop, this program is credited – or blamed – for fueling the coffee craze. More amazing, this program has been dubbed in Spanish and exported to the coffee growing giants - Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru and Venezuela. In 2010, “Coffee House”, a soap opera - can one say “coffee opera”? – began airing, which inspired the hit song “One Cup of Coffee”.

It’s interesting that while South Koreans are becoming more and more demanding of gourmet coffee, thus fueling a growth in the barista profession, they also like the ready-made coffee which is sold in cans and purchased at convenience stores. Another statistic cited proves that you can’t believe everything you read. The article stated that S. Koreans drink an average of 400 cups of coffee a day. However, a check of the source of that stat more correctly stated the average as 400 cups a year. As South Koreans become increasingly sophisticated in their coffee tastes, and the barista there draws from the Korean diet, we can expect more interesting additions to flavored coffees. Some of the local flavors added by Korean baristas include date and ginger. One such barista stated that the Korean dates add a “mocha-like flavor along with sweetness”. If you want to try a little date flavoring, date syrup is a healthy alternative to sugar as a sweetener. And you don’t have to travel to South Korea to try it. Brew on, sweetly.

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